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Hixson Community Center now officially open

Hixson Community Center, at the former Hixson Middle School site, is officially opening its doors to the public. Programs launching this week include Jazz Walk, Ultimate Frisbee, Low Impact Aerobics, Bingo Battles, Train Stations and Teen Programs.

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City Council Chairwoman and District 3 representative Pam Ladd, former Hixson Middle School principal Everett Fairchild and Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Administrator Larry Zehnder, from left, celebrate the grand opening of the Hixson Community Center at the former Hixson Middle School site. Fairchild accepts a brick from the school from Ladd at the ceremony.

“It’s beyond walls. This is a place to come with your family to building relationships and see other folks,” said City Council Chairwoman and District 3 representative Pam Ladd, without whose help and support, according to Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Administrator Larry Zehnder, the center would not have been possible. “We will start it as a place for people to live, work and play together. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Director of Chattanooga’s Office of Sustainability David Crockett said as a former councilman, one of the most important things he wanted was the Hixson Recreation Center. It took 12 years to get it done, but it’s finally here, he said.

“Thank you to all of you for your insight,” said former Hixson Middle School principal Everett Fairchild, a longtime advocate for converting his former school into a community center for all. “I feel like I have done what I am supposed to be doing.”

The buildings spans 25,000 square feet and features classrooms, an art studio, game room, multimedia room, senior activities room, multi-purpose room and the largest gym of all the city’s recreation facilities.

The center’s interior is newly painted with artwork on the walls designed by artist Jerry Allen.

Director of Recreation Greta Hayes said a community mural is in the works for the center.

Hixson’s Kristie McElhaney said she is really excited about the new recreation center. She brought her daughter Madison to take art classes on opening night. She said her children plan to take part in acting and art at the center.

Art classes to be offered at the center beginning this fall include drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fabric arts, painting and decoupage. The center will also offer performing arts through children’s community theater, music, concerts and dance.

Health and fitness classes will cover nutrition seminars, fitness classes, Zumba and yoga. Personal finance, gardening and outdoor recreation classes teaching hiking, biking and canoeing will also be offered.

Activities available every day at the center include shuffleboard, badminton, soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, billiards, foosball, card games, board games, video games, computers, exercising, watching movies and reading books, magazines and newspapers.

“We are very excited about the facility,” said Hixson High School boys’ basketball coach Alex Disbrow, whose teams use the center for practices. During the center’s grand-opening HHS athletes led 3-on-3 basketball games and 3-point shoot-outs. “It will give us a place to play. Hixson High School has a plan in place to work with the recreation center.”

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